Written by Ayesha Khan
While some will argue that a healthy amount of stress can help motivate you and keep your mind stimulated, stress can quickly pile up and cause serious health problems such as hypertension, heart disease, depression, and even obesity. When the pressure is on, here are four tips that will help you deal with stress levels.
Not having time for exercise is not an excuse – thanks to the ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin, even a 30-minute walk, run, or dance session can relieve tension and replace it with exhilaration and that comforting sense that the source of your stress will work itself out. Stepping away from the root of the stress also offers a fresh perspective.
Skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do in terms of stress management. In fact, certain foods will even help combat stress. Leafy greens stimulate the happy hormone dopamine, while tryptophan, found in foods such as turkey, nuts, seeds, and lentils, also contributes to a feeling of happiness and wellbeing. And the next time you reach for that sugary stress snack, consider this: when you’re stressed, your blood sugar level is already heightened, so adding more sugar will be like fuelling the fire.
Perhaps the most fun part of stress management, rewards offer the ultimate motivation. And they don’t have to be too elaborate – a movie night with friends, a piece of your favourite chocolate, or a hot bath with your favourite aromatherapy salts are all perfectly acceptable.
There are two main reasons why this tactic will help manage stress. The first is the sense of being in control. When you’re able to de-clutter and compartmentalise potential sources of stress, it offers a sense of accomplishment. The second stems from the fact that our brains are constantly scanning our environments for potential problems. When dealing with a high-stress situation, the already heightened brain will constantly be irked when it is reminded of that mess in your email inbox or on your desk. But don’t go overboard – overly rigorous organisation schemes can, in themselves, cause stress. Limit ‘clean-up time’ to about half an hour before starting work every day.